A Palm Desert man who was sentenced in federal court to five years behind bars for throwing a firebomb into a Republican office in the Coachella Valley pleaded guilty Friday to similar felony charges he faced in Riverside County Superior Court.
The Riverside County District Attorney’s Office has charged Carlos Espriu, 24, with one count of arson of a non-dwelling and two counts of possessing destructive or explosive devices along with a sentence-enhancing allegation of using a device designed to accelerate the fire.
Espriu appeared at the Larson Justice Center in Indio on Friday, where he pleaded guilty to the charges and was scheduled to appear on Dec. 17 for sentencing. He faces up to 13 years in state prison.
He remains held at the Byrd Detention Center in Murrieta without bail.
In federal court in March, Espriu pleaded guilty to a single federal count of attempted arson of a building, admitting he used a Molotov cocktail in an attempt to destroy the East Valley Republican Women Federated office in La Quinta in May 2020.
U.S. District Judge Percy Anderson also ordered him to pay $5,426 in restitution for damage caused by the firebombing.
During the early morning hours of May 31 last year, Espriu broke the front windows of the EVRWF headquarters and tossed inside a lighted Molotov cocktail made of three bottles he had taped together, according to federal prosecutors.
Nobody was injured in the blaze. Arriving firefighters quickly extinguished the fire before it could cause much damage, according to the Riverside County Fire Department.
EVRWF President Joy Miedecke said surveillance footage showed a man set the fire after breaking the windows with a baseball bat. Tips generated from the organization’s reward offer apparently helped authorities identify Espriu.
According to federal prosecutors, Espriu posted on Twitter sometime before the arson attack: “I wanna go burn (stuff and) get hit with tear gas.”
The attack occurred as protests over the killing of George Floyd by a Minneapolis police officer brewed across the country.
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